Submitted by Juan P Rodriguez
Since the day we are created we start fighting for our survival and coincidentally we start dying. We begin the learning process from zero. We have some default information in the form of instincts but that is about it. We start learning things that later in life we will take for granted such as trust, relating sensorial information to feelings, controlling movement, play, sharing and so on and so forth. At that point in our lives, we are completely dependent on adults for our survival.
We eventually get to an age where we attend school, or some form of education, and we become responsible for our grades, for our learning, for our relationships, we compete in academics and in sports and we work towards graduation. By this time, most of us have some vague idea of what career path we would like to follow, we apply to a college, maybe start working for the first time, and start to look more into our future. We have now gradually become more independent of our parent.
In college, we start learning how to live away from home, possibly learning to live together with other people that are not family, or even a companion, take care of ourselves and do things without having anyone tell us too. We are now learning to become completely independent.
By the time we have graduated from college, we hopefully found a job; we learn new skills, have an income and enjoy having some money to spend. We work hard to climb up in the corporate ladder. We look at other opportunities; maybe we attend college again, part time or full time, in order to get more credentials so we can aspire to even higher and better paid positions in our industry. We could possibly have found the person we want to spend the rest of our life with by this point in time; we have children, purchase our first home and have a mortgage. Now we have other people depending on us, our work, our love and our guidance.
At this point in time, we have great knowledge and experience on our line of work. We have reached the top of our career path and make the most amount of money in our lives. Our children have left home to attend college and we are getting close to our retirement. We need to watch our diet and health closely, more so than ever before.
We eventually retire and start enjoying life without a job. We travel, play golf, go fishing, become grandparents and start spoiling our grandchildren. We keep looking closely at our diet and our health.
Sooner for some and later for others, we become less independent; we need help from adults to do simple day to day things. Depending on our genetics, health habits, emotional state and the environment we live in, the only certainty in life finally becomes true for us and we pass away.
So, after looking at this summed up description of the typical life of a western middle class citizen for past generations, which by the way goes by incredibly quickly, an inevitable question pops up in my head and that question is why? Not why as in why this happens but more so as to why we do this? What I mean by this is, do we know why we are here doing this, for what purpose, to reach what goal? If we know why we are doing this, then we have a great motivator to keep doing it and doing it well. After all, we become independent pretty early in life; at around the time we graduate from college. We have the ability to decide and act upon our decisions without having anybody tells us too. We have the freedom to follow our dreams or our whys. Now, if we do not know why we are doing this, we are just going through the motions, operating on auto pilot and never really experiencing our real purpose in life, never really getting a taste of what life really should be about.
We need to ask ourselves why we do what we do. There needs to be consistency between our whys and our actions. So, in my particular case, my whys are my family, myself and the lifestyle I dream to reach. This is why I wake up every morning, work hard, take care of my health and dedicate time and money to constantly become a better me. These whys are also the reasons I use to keep moving forward when things are not working out as planned.
All of us need to know why we do the things we do every day, or else, what is the point of all of this? So I propose that we need to define what is our why if we have not yet done so. Determine these couple of whys, or reasons, which need to be specific for you, not your culture, your family or your friends, but for you and you only, and do so in a very specific and clear manner. Every morning and every night, remember why you do what you do every day and be grateful for it.
If our whys are not consistent with our current life, then we need to start finding ways to make these two coincide in as short of a period of time as possible. There is nothing more important in life than working for the things that really matter to us. So we need to put all of our efforts in aligning our actions with our whys as fast as possible.
Life is too short to spend time doing things that do not coincide with our whys. Let´s not waste more invaluable time doing things that do not really matter to us. We need to focus all of our efforts in reaching and maximizing our whys and we need to guard these efforts with our lives as it is very easy to drift away from them and get back to living a life without any meaning.
Our goal in life should be to have lived a meaningful life that really mattered to us. In order to reach this goal, let´s work on our whys every day from now on.
If this topic interests you and you would like to go deeper into it, looking at it from a business perspective which is what we do here at wikiken.org, then you might be interested in the following book.
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
Art by Flickr- Ksayer1 –